2.02.2013

Weathering the Weather

After several weeks of sweet citrus recipes, I thought it about time that I gave you a break. with a few weeks of savory dishes. This cheese and mushroom bread pudding will do for starters.

The same meteorological events that unleashed all the citrus preserving is also responsible for the next two comfort food posts.

This savory bread pudding definitely fits the bill for comfort, and it was just what we needed when the temperature hit 23° (that is about -5 to those of you in the Land of Celsius).

Yep, add a layer of fat to combat the cold. Isn’t that a natural reaction? Isn’t that how the folklore goes?

Somehow it seems to be my excuse for everything. Got a hangnail? Eat something fattening. Feed a cold, feed a fever. Feed ennui. Just eat for the sake of eating… because it’s there.

As is often the case, this dish was created with things on hand. You didn’t want me going outdoors to shop in weather like this, did you?

I had dribs and drabs of cheese leftover from visits to the market, and a big hunk of two-day old bread was begging to be used.

There were a couple of tired old portobello mushrooms in the fridge, too. Winter herbs are always available in the garden, and shallots and Marsala are generally lurking in the larder; same with eggs and some variety of milk/cream.

Seemed like a no-brainer to make this bread pudding, right? That is exactly what I thought.

This would be perfect with a nice red from the Côtes de Rhone region but, as you can see, we used a rosé from the same region because… you guessed it; it was the only wine left in the wine rack! Yes, I – who once loved winter – am now the biggest baby when it comes to going out in the cold, ... even to shop.

So, if you are in the colder climes, definitely consider this for adding some warmth to your life. If you are in the midst of your summer (you know who you are), hold onto this for your turn. It’s coming. It’s always coming, whether you are here or there. Mark always cites Victorian British art critic John Ruskin:
    Whether the weather be fine, Whether the weather be not,
    Whether the weather be cold, Whether the weather be hot,
    We’ll weather the weather, Whatever the weather
    Whether we like it or not!


Fatten up!

~ David

Cheese and Mushroom Bread Pudding

8 ounces crusty country-style white or wheat bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
2 large portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1/2 cup sweet Marsala
3 ounces creamy goat cheese
3 ounces gorgonzola or blue cheese
3 ounces goat feta cheese
2 cups half-and-half
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Preheat oven to 375°F.


Butter an 8-inch soufflé dish. Cut bread with crust into 1-inch cubes (about 5 cups loosely packed). Spread cubes out on large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until they are beginning to brown.


Meanwhile, heat olive oil and sauté shallots and mushrooms over high heat until mushrooms are dark brown. Add rosemary and thyme; cook 1 minute. Add Marsala and cook until almost all liquid has evaporated and the remainder is slightly syrupy.


Place cubes in very large bowl. Add mushroom mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let cool.


Add cheeses to bread cubes and place mixture in greased soufflé dish.


Whisk milk, half-and-half, eggs, salt, and ground pepper in large bowl and pour over bread and cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top. DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.


Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake uncovered until set and top is golden, about 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes.


Serves 4-6.


      Note: This works well as a “stuffing” cooked outside a chicken or turkey.

23 comments:

  1. This looks delicious! Can you recommend a substitute for the goat cheese?

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  2. This is SO my kind of meal. I can make it and eat it three days straight, since I´m a leftover junkie (don´t tell anyone!). I think I like savory bread pudding more than sweet. I mean, bread, cheese, eggs and cream...can´t help but love it. I pinned this one so I remember it, though I hardly forget this type of dish.

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  3. Catherine - yes, of course you can switch out the goat cheese! Ricotta would be perfect, or even some cream cheese. I think I chose those three because they are the ones I had on hand!

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  4. Paula - I agree with you wholeheartedly! I much prefer a savory bread pudding to a sweet one. The way the two of us love our bread, cheese, cream and egg, it is probably good that we aren't neighbors!

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  5. Minus 5! I'd be hibernating until it at least hit 15C, so I totally understand you not wanting to venture outdoors.
    David, I love everything about this bread pudding. The cheese, the herbs, the mushrooms, and how could I forget the marsala. I love marsala in cooking!
    Stay warm and toasty, my friend

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  6. John - at this moment I am flying to Rochester, NY a one of the coldest places on earth. Okay, slight exaggeration.... Anyway, your compliments are so generous - I wish I could get my food to look like yours. And Paula, too! And Anna! And Magda! Hey, dear Readers, check out my friends around the world... He Who Needs Food and the Littlest Anchovy in Sydney, Australia... Paula from Vintage Kitchen Notes in Buenos Aires, Argentina... and My Little Expat Kitchen by Magda - a Greek living in The Hague. I learn so much from them and you will love what they do!

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  7. This looks really amazing !
    But can I also replace the goatcheese with something ?
    My family doesn't like the cheese, although I like it a lot.

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  8. Sketched Chef - absolutely! Combine any cheeses you like (or your family likes) to make this bread pudding! Let me know what you decide...

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  9. David, I wouldn´t mind being neighbours, at all! I would get invited to all your dinner parties and celebrations you always seem to be having and you guys will get cake and bread all the time... perfect

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  10. Well, I have to admit that does sound pretty perfect, Paula! And happily dangerous for the diet!

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  11. David, thanks for the great comments on my blog. This looks like a perfect dish for a chilly winter night.

    BTW, I'm a Virgo, too. LOL!

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  12. Susan - aren't Virgos wonderful? :) I am enjoying reading your posts and drooling over your recipes!

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  13. All my favourite things in one place. I am serious when I say that my stomach just growled when I saw this. I think I had better go have lunch!

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  14. Well, Anna, I hope you were having leftover pasta with breadcrumbs and anchovies! :)

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  15. Today, as the blizzard rages outside, I am doing some of my favorite things (such as re-reading your posts, always looking to see what's cooking in your kitchen!). This recipe looks good and I wish that I had planned ahead so I could make it on this chilly day to follow your German soup (earlier post) which I am making today! It would have been the perfect early dinner after shoveling all the snow that begs to be cleared from the walkway!

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  16. The good news is that this recipe works well with and without snow!

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  17. David, this is dinner Tonight!
    Thanks, Colette

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  18. Holy moly!!! This is amazing! Savory bread pudding, just up my alley. :)

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  19. Yep - love adding that layer of fat... :)

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  20. Just planted four limequats: look like small lemons with smooth skin; have sweet skins like kumquats; and have a pulp that tastes like lime with a lemon finish. Can't want to figure out what to do with them. Have you seen them? Any suggestions for recipes??

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Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

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